Hope of the Ages

TimeWatch Editorial
April 13, 2017

The White Estate website has recorded the biography of J. N. Loughborough this way. He accepted the Sabbath at Rochester, New York, in 1852, as a result of the preaching of J. N. Andrews. It was here that he first met James and Ellen White. He and his family had gone through the 1844 disappointment as believers. From the age of 17, Loughborough was a lay preacher for the First-day Adventists. A month after he was introduced to the Sabbath by J. N. Andrews, he began preaching for the movement that later would become known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In his book “The Great Second Advent Movement” published in 1905, Loughborough, in discussing the importance of the Second Coming of Christ says the following.

“WHEN we speak of the second advent of Christ, we are touching a theme which in reality has been the hope of God’s people since the expulsion of our first parents from the Garden of Eden. In the words to the serpent, that the seed of the woman should bruise his head, was an assurance that finally a restorer would come, who should defeat the usurpations of Satan, and accomplish God’s purpose in the earth. The supposition is that Adam and Eve thought this work would very soon be performed, and that an immediate descendant from them would be the victor. Yet in God’s plan the promise of the Saviour from the apparent ruin embraced all that has since been developed in the carrying out of his “own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” J. N. Loughborough, “The Great Second Advent Movement,” page 22

Loughborough was quite a young man when he became involved in the work, but his commitment to that work was unquestioned. His understanding of the challenge of the task at hand matured quite quickly. According to the record of his life he was very acquainted with the visions received by Sis. White, and dedicated his life to achieving an understanding of the truth. He also came to an understanding of the mercy of God, describing the promise of God to Adam and Eve this way.

“Had Adam and Eve been given at once a view of the misery and woe which would fill the world during the long ages intervening between its ruin and its restoration, their grief would have been unbearable. The God of heaven, in his tender mercy and compassion, hid this view from them, leaving them to cherish the fond hope of soon being delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Entertaining the thought that redemption was near would naturally incite them to greater earnestness in preparation to meet the event.” J. N. Loughborough, “The Great Second Advent Movement,” page 22

That mercy has allowed our faith to grow and our characters to be transformed. God in his wisdom has always known that we need to develop the kind of conviction and determination that will produce the kind of characters that reflect him in all we do. The work that is being done within us is the preparation for the soon return of our Redeemer.

“So the people of God, coming down through the ages, have had the hope of Christ’s coming before them “as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Though often mid sorrows and afflictions they in anguish cry out, “How long, O Lord, before deliverance will come?” yet have they pressed forward, and like Paul have said and still say, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” J. N. Loughborough, “The Great Second Advent Movement,” page 24

We therefore need not fear. For what God has foretold will come to pass. And the interesting thing is that it will come to pass when God determines that it should. We can rely upon, not merely the accuracy of the prediction, but the fullness of time as far as God is concerned. Listen to how Loughborough describes such an event.

“In the study of prophecy there are certain facts that should ever be kept in mind: God, who is infallible, is the author of prophecy, and when the time comes for the fulfillment of a prediction, the very event predicted will occur. Again, as the Lord, who has power to foresee just what men will do, specifies a time when a thing will transpire, when that time comes, a true fulfillment of the prophecy is met. In other words, a false fulfillment of prophecy in the specified time for the true, is an impossibility. In harmony with this axiom, we may say, when the Lord’s time comes for his message of truth to be given to the world, the message makes its appearance every time.” J. N. Loughborough, “The Great Second Advent Movement,” page 31

Finally, Loughborough describes the eternal hope as having three phases. The joy of that hope is found in an understanding of the importance of those phases and the certainty of God’s Plan of Salvation. Here is how he puts it:

“In considering the pathway of the Lord’s people from Eden down to the end, in the light of the Scriptures, there are three events that stand out in special prominence. The first is the first advent of Christ, the incarnation, the coming of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh; the second, the great Reformation after the Dark Ages-the 1260 years of oppression, in which the word of the Lord was almost wholly kept from the common people-a coming of the church out of her wilderness state, and the placing of the Scriptures where all might read and know his will; the third, the second coming of our Lord to bring in the times of restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began; this, to close up “the conflict of ages, the conflict between sin and righteousness, to bring in the age of glory, toward which all the ages have been tending.” J. N. Loughborough, “The Great Second Advent Movement,” page 33

We are now approaching the completion of the third phase as mentioned above. Let us therefore be ready to go home.

Cameron A. Bowen

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